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Changing the Axes

Sometimes you may want to modify your axes to make the scale longer or to change the divisions that are marked. Take care when modifying your axes as, if you get your scale wrong, your data will not fall on your chart and will not be visible.

To bring up a window to change the axes you first need to select the axis you want to change by clicking on it so that square handles appear at either end or by using the Chart Item selector on the Chart Toolbar to select either the Value Axis (y-axis) or the Category Axis (x-axis). Now click your right mouse button on the axis and choose Format Axis  from the menu that appears or click the Format icon on the Chart Toolbar or press CTRL and 1 together to bring up the Format Axis window.

If you click on the Scale section of this window you can set the maximum and minimum values for the scale and the size of the divisions.  If you want to see how to use the settings for the other sections of this window click on the relevant tab at the top of the image below (patterns, font, number, alignment).

In the example above we have set the minimum value to 0 and the maximum to 200. Notice that the tick marks have been removed to prevent Excel from automatically determining the maximum and minimum. You can also set the major and minor units yourself or leave the ticks in for Excel to decide on suitable divisions. If you do not want minor units then you will need to set the minor unit size to the same value as the major unit size as we have done.

When your scale contains categories such as months the Scale section of the Format Axis window is laid out differently as shown below.

Instead of setting maximum and minimum values you can choose how often tick marks are placed and how often labels are used. Our graph with the amended axes is shown below.


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